“Good, here are some goggles and a compass. The labyrinth exudes strange warping magic that I’ve been studying for years. It’s similar to my illusion magic but lacks the structure. If you’re in the labyrinth long enough it can cause hallucinations and warp your sense of direction. The compass will lead you to a tribe of goblins that I’ve helped in the past. They owe me and will be vital for taking down Jorn. You’ll need to convince them to come to our aid. I’m sure mentioning they have a debt to repay won’t be enough. It never is with goblins.
I have a plan, but when Jorn comes he’ll come with hired men of his own. He won’t repeat his mistake of fighting alone. He’ll come to us stacking the odds in our favor. Be cautious though Jorn isn’t stupid, if he catches wind of any conniving we’ll be in a load of trouble.”
“What do you have planned?” I asked
“You don’t need to worry about that now. It’ll work out better if you just convince the goblins to come help without knowing what I have planned.”
I took one last look at the bizarre tree with swaying leaves and made my way back into the labyrinth.
The cave's walls were clear through the goggles that Goran had given me. The rocks that once haunted me now stood no chance of smashing into my face. They were shells of their former evil selves and that made me happy. Rocks I could see were much nicer than the rocks I couldn't.
The compass was easy to follow and soon enough I could see an ugly little green gremlin. They were weird little things that weren’t too strong alone but were quite nasty in a group. There was a reason they weren’t found alone. I knew once I spotted that one, there were many more down this cave.
It’s back was hunched and it was sniffing the ground. What it was smelling I didn’t know and, honestly, was not something I wanted to find out. Goblins were filthy little things. I never understood why they didn’t wash off.
“Take me to your chief!” I screamed at the small green thing.
It hunched its back even more, as it realized I loomed over it. It cowered like I was going to eat it. I didn’t eat creatures but I decided not to tell the goblin that.
“Yes! Yes! The chieftain is this way!” cried the little goblin.
I was surprised that the goblin had ratted out his boss so easily but then I remembered I was dealing with a goblin. They didn’t have the strongest morals.
I followed the goblin as it weaved its way through various tunnels. For something that moved its legs so quickly it was surprisingly easy to keep up with the goblin. Soon we entered a room that was sizable. It was an empty room with a single tunnel entrance on the other side of the room.
I watched as the goblin stopped. He beckoned me to come forward.
“Swooooshh” the floor beneath my feet crumbled and I fell into a deep stone pit.”
I looked up and watched the scared goblin snicker.
“Can’t eat me now! Can’t eat me now!” taunted the excited goblin.
I didn’t care much for goblins. They weren’t the brightest creatures but they were mischievous. Over countless years of being a victim of goblin induced headaches, I became experienced in dealing with these annoying little things. They didn’t hurt my head like the surprise rocks I’d hit my head on, but they still hurt my head in a very real way.
“If you don’t help me out of this pit, I’ll eat you!” I yelled.
I watched the goblin hesitate. He looked from side to side and crawled farther away from the pit. The pit wall blocked most of the goblin. Only everything above his nose was visible to me.
“You won’t eat me if I let you out of the pit?” asked the goblin.
“That’s right. I’ll only eat you if you keep me down here in your pit. Trust me, you wouldn’t want that to happen to you.”
“No. No, I don’t want to be eaten.” the dumb goblin responded.
“That’s right. I won’t eat you if you help me out of this pit.”
“I’m not strong enough.” the goblin responded. I could hear the shrill of his voice as he realized that he wouldn’t be able to help me out.
I knew I had to intercede. It wouldn’t do me any good if I let the thing have a panic attack.
“Bring your tribe. If everyone works together, surely they’ll be strong enough to lift me out of this hole.” I advised.
The goblin froze. Its beady eyes stared at me as it contemplated the poor situation it found itself in. I knew what it was thinking. Would the wrath of the tribe be worth getting eaten? It was a flawed way of thinking, but goblins weren’t known for their logic. Goblins weren’t known for anything really. They were exceptionally unexceptional. Ordinary was what they did best.
“I will bring my tribe, wait here.” the goblin responded as if I had any choice in the matter. The goblin didn’t seem to think I was stuck. I wasn’t going to convince it otherwise.
I waited in the hole. It wasn’t a dirty hole, so I didn’t mind too much. The sides of the pit were smooth granite without anything I could latch onto. I wondered if the goblins found the pit this way or if they had to grind down the sides to make sure their victims couldn’t get out. Goblins didn’t have much foresight, so I expected the former was true. I wondered how they created the thin stone that hid the pit.
The room looked like most of the rooms I’d been in. I was growing tired of grey walls and the glowing blue veins that lit up the cavern. The artificial light was welcome but I missed the sun and its warmth. The blue artificial light wasn’t warm, it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t much really.
I lost track of time as I waited. I worried the goblin wouldn’t come back. Maybe someone had convinced him not to come back to me or maybe he had forgotten.
Eventually, I saw a small familiar head peek into the hole. My goblin friend was back.
“I brought my tribe. Chief here. Want to talk.”
“Ok,” I responded. I didn’t really have any choice.
A hobgoblin peered over the hole. Unlike regular goblins, hobgoblins had the advantage of not be dumb as a rock. They were smarter than goblins which made them more and less annoying than their lesser counterparts. Tricking the hobgoblin wouldn’t work as it had with the goblin.
“I was sent to ask you a favor,” I said.
“So you’re the rock monster Florg was talking about,” the hobgoblin muttered to itself, ignoring my question entirely.
“I need your help.” I reiterated.
“I know you need my help.” said the grinning hobgoblin. “You’re stuck in my hole and unless I like what you have to say you’ll be staying in that hole.”
I hesitated. I didn’t know whether I should tell the truth or come up with some elaborate lie to try and entice the hobgoblin to help Goran and more importantly help me get out of this hole.
“Goran sent me. He says you owe him a favor.” I stated. I hoped whatever Goran had done it was important to the hobgoblin. Hobgoblins weren’t known for paying back their debts, especially when it wasn’t convenient for them.